Each year, the Braves Foundation recognizes five Atlanta individuals or nonprofits as heroes for their contributions to the community. On Monday, Hidinger received a Community Hero Award for her work as the public face and chief messenger for TGK from the foundation which also included a check in the amount of $5,000 for the nonprofit. That money equates to three TGK grants to assist Atlanta area restaurant employees experiencing unexpected hardships which prevent them from working.
According to TGK’s marketing director, Brad Kaplan, Hidinger, who also co-owns Staplehouse with chef Ryan Smith and his wife Kara Hidinger, was not aware she was being honored until the unveiling when members from the Braves organization, including first baseman Freddie Freeman, came parading down the Beltline behind a marching band.
The surprise award has been in the works for a month with the Braves, the folks from Helpful Hot Dog, and The Giving Kitchen staff working together to pull off the big reveal for Hidinger.
“All Jen knew was that she was taking part in The Helpful Hot Dog pop-up with Staplehouse and The Giving Kitchen. She was completely unaware of what was about to unfold,” Kaplan said.
Hidinger told Eater Atlanta she was totally shocked by the unexpected award which reaffirmed her purpose with The Giving Kitchen, “To see such an expression of community support reminds me that my purpose is to pay it forward to the community that helped lift me up when I was down. I'm grateful to the Atlanta Braves for allowing my voice to tell the mission and good work that The Giving Kitchen provides.”
After the award ceremony, the crew from Staplehouse, along with Freeman and Hidinger, slung 200 hot dogs to the gathering crowd. We’re told the weiners ran out in 45 minutes with the Braves footing the bill. Proceeds, of course, went to The Giving Kitchen.
Check out The Helpful Hot Dog each Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm at the Beltline entrance to Ponce City Market. The weekly hot dog stand was conceived by the owners of The Mercury and The Pinewood as a way to give back to the community at large and features a different Atlanta chef cooking up specialty hot dogs with proceeds going to a charity of their choice. Beef hot dogs are $5.00 and chicken and veggie dogs are $6.00.